There's been much talk recently about the advent of driverless forklifts, or automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and what they mean for the material handling industry. Some operators may think this will be the end of traditional manual operation, and in some respects this is true. AGVs will eliminate the need for lower labour requirements, moving human operators to higher-value positions in the warehouse.
Driverless forklifts are best suited to repetitive movement and order picking. These machines also offer an ideal solution in high-density operations, which will save space in your warehouse. TMHA can program your AGV driverless forklift operation to perform a multitude of tasks that are specifically tailored to your needs.
Driverless forklifts reduce the number of necessary stops and traffic flow problems usually symptomatic of human operation. The increased productivity in the areas of repetitive operation saves not only time but also money as fewer goods are likely to be damaged during the tasks for which AGVs will be most useful.
That being said, there is still value in human operators in an automated warehouse. Human operators are far more capable of identifying issues in the immediate environment and any problems with picking orders. The role of the human operator in an automated warehouse will be more dynamic and varied as the 'grunt work' is now tasked to the automated system.
Improvements can be seen in the reduction of human strain from long shifts and repetitive tasks, a reduction in human error from fatigue, and the ability for unmanned lifting of extreme loads - a dangerous operation for any worker. There are also manual operations which do not fit with the operation of AGV driverless forklifts, such as ad hoc requests and retrieval.
Once only a retrofitted accessory, Toyota Material Handling has now developed a standard warehouse solution with our Autopilot AGV driverless forklift range, all fitted with the latest safety and obstacle sensors and positioning via a high precision laser scanner. The Autopilot systems also allow for manual operation, retaining the value of a human operator in your warehouse.
Automation may not be the right solution for all warehouses, so please speak to your local Toyota Material Handling branch on 1800 425 438 to see which solution best suits your application.
TMHA's "Autopilot" driverless forklift range are fitted with the latest safety and obstacle sensors